Monday, January 2, 2017

7 Grid Chain Quilt: Day 2

7 Grid Chain 

Yesterday I started playing with blocks, and today it all came together. Like many of you, I work best without a pattern. If you haven't tried it, it's liberating! Just start with an idea, and keep moving forward until you arrive. Let me give you a quick walk through this quilt's process. 

One thing I've learned is if the fabric is already on the table, work with it. Don't put it away. It's already been ironed, and you have a good idea of what sizes you're working with. So I did this with the red and green selection I used to make an improvisational strip quilt on the left.

First I tried 4 patches, then added a bit more to make a 9 patch. It wasn't quite what I wanted.

I was all set here to make a simple chain quilt, but ran out of the very dark green. I substituted the pale green you can see in the 9 patch, but it really felt off. The chain failed to show up against anything but a very dark background even though there were light patches in the block. I was stumped. I went to bed.

Keep Seam Allowances Generous

These past weeks I've been working with my Janome Memory Craft. It's a love-hate relationship at best. I much prefer my Pfaff integrated walking foot for piecing, but it's aging fast. I decided to try the 1/4" foot on the Janome. I got closer to a 1/2" seam even with adjusting needle positions. Arg. Switching back to the Janome walking foot seems like the best option.

Seams here are nested, and twirled to reduce bulk.

Even in my modern stash, dark green didn't exist. Solid black Kona was a good substitute. I cut the filler pieces, and was off running. 

When you're working without a pattern, just measure your pieces, and add things up. It's simple math.

It was a 3 o'clock finish when my daughter came to the studio to do some dyeing with me. We looked at the quilt top several times, and both agreed a row at the top would help to give it just a tad more length. I want it to be plenty large when you consider it may be covering many people under it. That will get done first thing in the morning.

I appreciate the great ideas and comments you're leaving. So many of you are consistently producing quilts for others, and it humbles me to hear your stories. I feel like I'm walking in the shadows of giants. Thank you for all you do!

Check back every day in January as I work on charity quilts for Mennonite Central Committee. Check out the new Pinterest board Charity Quilt Ideas, and send me any pins you think might be helpful. As these are all utility quilts, I've tried to keep the piecing ideas very simple and straightforward.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts said...

This quilt pattern came to my mind a few nights ago when I couldn't sleep. How fun to see it with my eyes!

Stitchin At Home said...

No pattern quilt or as I call flying by the seat of my pants, can result in stunning quilts like the chains you made. Well done!!

Angie in SoCal said...

An extraordinary Irish Chain, Julie.

Kate said...

It's a simple pattern, but your color choices really make it a dramatic quilt!